Brown Leans Right In Major Speech

PM's first address to unions rebuffs demands for pay raises
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2007 12:36 PM CDT
British Chancellor Gordon Brown speaks during a meeting with members of his Labour Party in Newcastle, England Sunday June 3, 2007. Britain's incoming leader Gordon Brown will unveil a raft of new hardline...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Gordon Brown received a cool reception in his first address as prime minister to Britain's Trade Union Conference, traditionally Labour's largest constituency. After 10 years of tense relations with Tony Blair, the unions had hoped that Brown would offer a more left-wing policy. But Brown insisted that he would oppose their demands for pay rises, the Times of London reports.

Labour receives substantial funding from the trade unions, and the TUC comprises a substantial voting bloc during internal party elections. But under Blair the party distanced itself from union demands, and in the former PM's last address to the conference he faced boos and walkouts. Today's speech tried to smooth over differences, but Brown refused to back down from the economic agenda he pushed as chancellor.